Walking it off

Today knocked me off my feet. Today my dog won. Today I laughed a little.

My dog has this amazing ability to smell every smell in the yard the minute he goes out the door. Then, he has this amazing ability to figure out which direction the best smells are coming from and go there. I don’t mean pull on the leash until I tell him no. I mean he puts all 110 lbs. into that direction and he goes there. With me.

Well, today he chose his direction and dragged me along with him. Unfortunately this time my ankle was asleep on the job and didn’t follow us. I felt it roll. Felt it creak and tear and fail. My dog didn’t feel anything and he kept happily running in his chosen direction and so did my upper half. My shoes flew off. I have no doubt I would be a YouTube sensation tonight if my son were older and had his own phone.

After I fell (on the pavement, about 6 inches away from softer grass), I just lay there. I lay there with my dog licking my face, ankle screaming, and head spinning. I just lay there trying to find my strength and my brain again. It’s like life just paused. Completely paused.

At first it was eerily peaceful, lying there on the warm summer pavement. And a few minutes later it was comedic and I started laughing at myself. And then a few minutes after that it became horribly stressful and sad. My mind jumped to the “What if it is broken? How the heck will I manage my son?” and my heart jumped to the “I’m alone and my husband left me and there’s no one here to help me” pity party.

But as I stood up and started limping back into the house (a longer journey when you’re dragging a foot instead of using it), the smart realist in me was so thankful and glad that my husband was not there. I’m glad he wasn’t there to make fun of me for being a catastrophe or for being weak. I’m glad he wasn’t there to remind me of how athletic he is and never falls (yes, he has actually said that) and I’m glad he wasn’t there to tell me how un-athletic I am. The reality is he wouldn’t have even helped me get up. Not kidding.

It reminded of one time while I was pregnant. He made a sweet gesture and started to list the qualities that he hoped our child inherited from me. He thought about it for a little while, listed one quality and then stopped and smirked.

“I hope he has your dark brown eyes.”

That’s all he could name. He continued with a list of things he hoped our child didn’t get from me. That list was much longer.

All of this ran through my mind as I cautiously limped back to the house. With every step, I became more confident that I was better off without him. With every step, I realized that really was enough for myself and my son. I realized I would do my best to handle whatever direction life pushed (or in this case, pulled) me toward. With every inch of ground I covered, I became more certain that no matter what happened between him and my son, I would always be the anchor and support that my son needed. With every step, I walked further and further away from the heart break and the pain. I even walked away from the anger a little.

I looked down at my happy dog; he was ready to go back to his spot on the couch. He looked up at me with a cheeky smile. No matter what, I’d always have him to give me a little life lesson every now and then. Thanks dude.

My ankle is of course fine. The frozen cauliflower really helped. And my heart? My heart is doing well. A little less tender today. A little tougher. A little smarter. And my husband? Still the athletic superhero that’s God’s gift to women.